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-- by Deborah K. Wong
If only getting that map folded was the toughest part of trip planning. But you'll get at least some relief with TravRoute Software's Road Trips City-to-City 1997, a simple, straightforward road atlas program.
Providing directions to most U.S., Canadian and Mexican cities, City-to-City offers basic maps and trip-planning features. As with TravRoute's Road Trips Door-to-Door (see Reviews, December 1996), you supply start and end cities, stopovers and mileage speeds, and the program instantly highlights a suggested route.
City-to-City calculates the quickest and shortest road trip (one-way or round-trip), or you can customize your itinerary by selecting the type of roadway you wish to travel (toll, urban or local). The avid sightseer can specify up to 15 stops and sort them to minimize total driving distance. You can also estimate gas expenses by entering current fuel prices and your car's expected mileage per gallon.
If reading (or wrestling with) standard bulky maps is a problem, you can print a map or itinerary and even change the font size used for directions (handy if you're creating invitation inserts). Although the maps are not graphically rich or highly detailed and lack fancy illustrations, multiple zoom levels are available to display essential roads and highways.
City-to-City also offers GeoBrowser for real-time travel information on the Web (you'll need a modem and Internet access)
Once you're connected, just point and click on any hyperlinked city and pop up a TravRoute-designed site for that location. While these sites list a few hotels and restaurants, I noticed that quality hotels in several cities were omitted, and restaurants leaned toward fast food. Information on construction updates, state weather conditions and car rental agencies, as well as locations of speed traps, tourist attractions and golf courses, are included.
When I tested a familiar hometown route, the program sent me approximately 4 miles out of my way. I can accept a few wayward miles, but when I checked services in my hometown, GeoBrowser could not find an exact city match and directed me to a city in Mexico-689 miles away. The disclaimer accompanying each itinerary hints at the program's true accuracy: "This suggested route ... may be incomplete or inaccurate in some cases."
For $39.95, Road Trips City-to-City isn't my first choice for cross-country or long-distance travel planning. The same amount of money buys you DeLorme Mapping's AAA Map'n'Go, a more comprehensive package that retains a spot on our Recommended List. Still, City-to-City is a no-frills, easy-to-use package that will help you plan your next weekend getaway.